Apparently a Wall Street Journal contributor thinks that the latest contributing to YA novels are far too dark. Its like these writers have forgotten the bits and pieces of past novels that they didn’t like, and compare recent novels to an inaccurate version of the past that they have chosen to remember. Take Anne Frank: The Diary of Young Girl. Nazi invasion, hiding in an attic, lesbian exploration. People only seem to remember her two page romance with a young man and her bravery at being found (which I remember as a very short portion of the book). There was a lot of dark and depressing fifteen year old thinking in the book, like in today’s YA readings. Being a young adult is dark and depressing. Finding characters to relate to, a relief.And isn’t this where parental supervision comes in to play? Not everyone can handle the same material at the same time in their lives.
Furthermore, to generalize that all YA material is dark and depressing and about vampires is to completely over look an entire selection of books. Those having nothing to do with science fiction or fantasy. Has this contributor even been to a book store recently? Shelves of Gossip Girl stories spill out into young people’s hands. You can still find Gary Paulsen’s, Hatchet tucked in among other fictitious stories. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think there are any vampires in Gossip Girls. Maybe a few succubi and incubuses. 😉 Anyway, you can check out io9’s contributor’s response (contributor is a YA author) to the Wall Street Journal’s generalizations here.
As the author points out, the genre of dystopian futures is a dark subject. Expecting it to be light and airy incongruous. One of the reason’s I really liked The Hunger Games and The Uglies series over the book Matched, was the very fact that Matched made everything about a dystopian future too Utopian and pleasant except one aspect. What is the point of the story then? YA romance? A stolen kiss? Puhlease. I’m hoping that with Crossed, Allyson Condie begins to explore some of the darker elements of a seemingly perfect society, that discounts for sexual orientation preferences , and instead focuses on the imperfect government pretending to be perfect, where the main characters rebellion is about bringing down the dystopian society and not just on a love sick girl who ruins her families standing and good name with teenage infatuation.